American Gothic Press: Famous Monsters of Filmland’s New Comics
For a lot of us, our love of comics comes from childhood. For a lot of us, that childhood love for comics was shared with our love for movie monsters. For a lot of us of a certain age, that love for monsters, madness and paper crystalized in the glorious Famous Monsters of Filmland, and then taken to the next level with Vampirella, Creepy and Eerie.
Forrest J. Ackerman might be gone, but his successor at the wheel of Famous Monsters, Phil Kim, is doing his best to make sure Famous Monsters keeps giving people all the monster news they can handle via their website or the paper magazine. And to make it better, he then went and decided to start a comic publishing brand: American Gothic Press.
Comics with Famous Monsters of Filmland's seal of approval? Yes, please! Not just that, check out the talent list for their first five offerings:
- Gunsuits by Paul Tobin and P. J. Holden (first issue came out in June)
- Bornhome by Paul Tobin and Jeff Johnson (first issue coming out in July)
- Broken Moon by Steve Niles and Nat Jones (scheduled for September)
- Monster World by Steve Niles, no artist announced yet
- Project Nemesis by Jeremy Robinson and Matt Frank (scheduled for Sept/Oct)
Print runs of 5,000 or 10,000 (depending on the series), at least Gunsuits and Bornhome have a Darick Roberson variant for each issue and Hollywood connections … Gets the brain working, doesn't it?
We had to know more, so after reading and loving Gunsuits #1 (came out last June, with a print of 5000, make sure you get one while you can still find it), we had a chat with Mr. Kim himself:
CBSI: You got involved with FM in 2007, had you been a fan before that?
Phil Kim: Yes, been reading … well, pouring over it since age 11.
CBSI: What was your relationship with Uncle Forry?
Phil Kim: Was an admirer from afar then had the honor to know him in the last few years of his life.
CBSI: Why comics?
Phil Kim: Whenever anyone talks about FM and Forry it is never without Vampirella, Creepy and Eerie. These comics changed the way people told stories. They were such a big part of our pop culture that it was a natural fit to launch American Gothic Press.
CBSI: Why now?
Phil Kim: I had some stories I wanted to tell and some people I wanted to work with.
CBSI: If I understand correctly, you have created the concepts for four of the new series and then given them to Paul Tobin and Steve Niles to develop. What made you decide for Paul and Steve?
Phil Kim: Well, they were on my short list as I am a fan. Paul's stories always involve character development that is almost impossible to show in a comic book format. And Steve?… well just read Broken Moon and Monster World and you will see why I asked him to write for us.
CBSI: Can you give us the elevator pitch for each series?
Broken Moon: Fury Road meets Blade. There are far worse things in the universe than an apocalypse.
Monster World: Chinatown meets X-files: Movie Magic turns to real life horror in this PI mystery that explores the beginnings of the monster movies business and its ties to black magic.
Bornhome: Firefly meets A Clockwork Orange. In the 34th century, Terracore is a living crystal that terraforms any rock into a habitable planet and is the most coveted resource in the Galaxy. Problem? It's all drying up except on Bornhome, an abandon amusement park planet filled with wonders and horrors that will soon change the face of humanity.
Gunsuits: Robotech meets H.P. Lovecraft. Giant Monsters and Mechs … what else can I say?
CBSI: Apart from your 4 original creations, you have Jeremy Robinson adapting his own Kaiju book series: PROJECT NEMESIS. How did that come about?
Phil Kim: We interviewed Jeremy and wanted to work with him for a while. His stories are a natural fit for comics and cinema.
CBSI: Would you have an interest in selling these ideas to Hollywood?
Phil Kim: Of course. Comics are just like story boards.
CBSI: Wouldn't that mean that FM would be reporting on movies adapting comics published by AGP?
Phil Kim: That is the plan.
CBSI: Would that make the space-continuum implode?
Phil Kim: If it does, we will turn it into a comic.
CBSI: You're going to start with this 5 series which will be published over the next 6-12 months. What are the next steps planned for the company?
Phil Kim: We have a lot of big stories in development.
CBSI: Speaking from a collector's POV, what's the print run for each series?
Phil Kim: Currently, we are running well under 10,000 copies per issue.
CBSI: Does that include the Darick Robertson variants? Are they available in the same amount as the regular covers?
Phil Kim: Yes. We are here to have fun, not to bankrupt anyone.